Best cars for dogs - and dog owners

Wondering which car is best for you and your furry friend? Here we reveal the top 10 cars for dogs and their owners...

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by
Alasdair Rodden
Published02 January 2024

According to a survey by the aptly-named pet food supplier UK Pet Food, there are currently around 12 million dogs in the UK. So, it’s only natural that many car buyers want a model that suits both them and their four-legged companion(s).

Practicality is key here; any car which won’t allow your dog to stand up and lie down in comfort is best avoided, as are those with substantial boot lips which only a show jumping canine would be able to clear.

Best cars for dogs 2023

The best of the bunch offer not only great practicality and easy access, but also build quality fit to withstand as many claws as are thrown at it, and a whole host of accessories to keep you and your dog both comfy and safe.  

If any of the models below take your fancy – including the best all-rounder for dogs and their owners, the Skoda Superb Estate – simply click on the relevant links to find out more, or see how much you could save by using our free New Car Buying service. Or if you're looking for pet accessories, including the best dog guards, then we've rated those separately.

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Hugely spacious boot and interior
  • Minimal wind noise
  • Well priced, and hybrid makes a cheap company car

Weaknesses

  • Hybrid isn’t as practical as other versions
  • Interior quality disappoints in places
  • Some estates are more fun to drive

The Skoda Superb Estate tops this list thanks to its class-leading practicality, handy accessories and value for money. Our reigning Estate Car of the Year has a vast 660-litre boot, with a wide opening which means you should have no trouble piling in all manner of pet paraphernalia.

Like the Skoda Fabia, the Superb Estate is available with Skoda’s Pet Pack, which furnishes you with the essentials. Unlike some of the other brands featured on this list, though, Skoda doesn’t offer a dedicated pet carrier. However, we expect most dog owners will already have one to hand, which should easily fit in the back of the enormous Superb Estate. An all-new Skoda Superb Estate – with an even bigger boot – is due to go on sale early next year.

Read our in-depth Skoda Superb Estate review

Our pick: Long Range AWD 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 4.8 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 48D
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Rapid acceleration
  • Great range between charges
  • Tesla’s charging infrastructure

Weaknesses

  • Unsettled ride
  • Noisy for an EV
  • A Model 3 is cheaper and better to drive

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly electric car, the Tesla Model Y is our pick of the litter. Its ‘Dog Mode’ allows you to turn on the air-con when you park up, keeping your pets cool if you have to leave them unattended for a short period of time. The Model Y also benefits from a big boot, but a lack of official accessories means you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a pet carrier to keep your dog safe and secure.

For those who rarely travel with more than one (human) passenger, Tesla does offer a Pet Liner for the rear seats of the Model Y. This protects the seats and acts as a barrier between the front and rear, reducing the likelihood of your furry friend causing a distraction.

Read our in-depth Tesla Model Y review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Pleasant to drive with a comfortable ride
  • Hugely practical
  • Strong resale values

Weaknesses

  • Not available as a seven-seater - yet
  • Fiddly air-con controls and infotainment
  • Efficiency could be better

The enormous size and boxy proportions of our 2023 Car of the Year – the Volkswagen ID Buzz – make it an excellent contender for a dog-owning family. Its boot is even bigger than that of the Skoda Superb Estate, and the Buzz’s rear seats slide and recline, allowing you to find the best balance between passenger and dog space. Upgrading to Style trim gets you Volkswagen’s Multi-flex board – a false boot floor which creates a space below the main boot area for storing smaller items.

Volkswagen doesn’t offer any dog-specific accessories with the ID Buzz, but you shouldn’t have any trouble fitting a pet carrier in it, and its low boot floor means most dogs should be able to hop in with ease.

Read our in-depth VW ID Buzz review

Our pick: 1.0 TCe Expression 5dr

0-62mph: 11.2 sec
MPG/range: 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 132g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 160 litres
Insurance group: 13E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Extremely well priced
  • Genuine seven-seat usability
  • Easy to drive

Weaknesses

  • Very poor safety rating
  • More engine noise than rivals
  • Middle row seats don’t slide back and forth

Despite being the cheapest seven-seater on the market, the Dacia Jogger is practical, versatile and pleasant to drive. As a car for transporting canine companions, it appeals in much the same way as the Volkswagen ID Buzz – its square shape and low boot floor make loading and unloading dogs a doddle.

The rearmost seats can be removed entirely to create enough space for most dogs to stretch out, while pop-out rear windows offer a supply of fresh air. As is the case with the Buzz, owners will want to ensure they’ve got a suitable dog carrier or harness to maximise safety.

Read our in-depth Dacia Jogger review

Our pick: 3.0 D250 S 110 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 8.3 sec
MPG/range: 33.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 223g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 786 litres
Insurance group: 37E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Comfortable on the road, excellent off it
  • Up to eight seats
  • Slow depreciation

Weaknesses

  • Higher trim levels are very pricey
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are poor
  • Tiny boot in 90 models

The Land Rover Defender 110 offers all the practicality you’d expect from a larger SUV, thanks to its boxy shape and rugged, go-anywhere heritage. Its off-road ability will surely appeal to outdoorsy dog parents, while the smooth ride makes on-road driving a relaxing affair.

Optional air suspension means you can lower the boot floor to make loading dogs in easier, although Land Rover also offers a ramp to help larger breeds climb up. The ramp is one of a wide range of accessories that you can get with the Defender, including dog guards, boot liners, a branded pet carrier and even a spill resistant water bowl to help your pooch stay hydrated on a long journey.

Read our in-depth Land Rover Defender review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Extremely practical
  • 85 version has an impressive range
  • Comfortable and easy to drive

Weaknesses

  • So-so performance from entry-level 60 version
  • You'll want to add options, such as a heat pump
  • Faster charging capability limited to 4x4 Enyaqs

As with the other Skodas on this list, impressive practicality combined with the convenience of the Pet Pack makes the Skoda Enyaq a tempting option for dog owners. There’s plenty of room in the front and the rear for even the tallest of people, while canine passengers will have room to stretch out inside the Enyaq’s cavernous boot.

The Enyaq benefits from being comfortable and easy to drive, too, and our favourite version (dubbed 80 Loft) can officially manage up to 339 miles on a full charge. Unfortunately, the Enyaq misses out on the Tesla Model Y’s extremely handy Dog Mode.

Read our in-depth Skoda Enyaq review

Our pick: 1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 3 5dr

0-62mph: 9.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 562 litres
Insurance group: 20E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Lower-spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear leg room and boot space

Weaknesses

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear head room compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions

The Kia Sportage’s spacious and well built interior was a key reason we named it our Family SUV of the Year. Of course, all of this space makes it great for dogs, too. Available accessories for the Sportage include a boot liner and a dog guard, and its large, square boot should be able to swallow a dog carrier without any fuss.

Entry-level versions of the Sportage represent excellent value for money, while upgrading to 3 trim gets you loads of extra kit including heated front and rear seats. A word of warning to owners of tall dogs: mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid Sportages have noticeably shallower boots than non-hybrid and regular hybrid versions.

Read our in-depth Kia Sportage review

Our pick: 115kW SE EV Long Range 61kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 8.3 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 479 litres
Insurance group: 30A
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Relatively good electric range
  • Low cash price
  • Sprightly performance and comfy

Weaknesses

  • Infotainment system could be easier to use
  • Rivals can charge up more quickly
  • Not much fun to drive

If you’re in the market for an electric estate car, your options are very limited. Fortunately, the decent range, comfy ride and low price of the MG5 make it quite a compelling car, while its square proportions mean it can make particular sense for dog owners.

You can brake much more smoothly in the MG5 than you can in similarly priced electric rivals such as the Peugeot e-208, and the regenerative braking system, which recharges the battery as you slow down, is well judged. This is ideal for a dog, because it reduces the likelihood of being jostled about while slowing down.

However, MG doesn’t sell any dog-related accessories for the 5, and boot space falls well short of the best petrol-powered estate cars.

Read our in-depth MG5 review

Our pick: 2.0 TDI Life 5dr DSG

0-62mph: 11.6 sec
MPG/range: 43.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 170g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 469 litres
Insurance group: 26E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Exceptionally good predicted residual values
  • Good value against van-based MPV rivals
  • Lots of safety tech

Weaknesses

  • Infotainment not the best
  • No rear air-con as standard

If you like the look of the ID Buzz, but don’t want to make the switch to an electric car, the equally enormous Volkswagen Multivan might be the MPV for you. It’s available in petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid variants, the latter offering an official electric-only range of just over 30 miles, and a 0-62mph time of 9.0sec.

The Multivan also comes as a 7-seater, where the ID Buzz can only seat five (the long-wheelbase ID Buzz will be available with up to seven seats when it goes on sale in 2024). The Multivan’s rear seats can be slid and rearranged to divvy up the interior space, however a larger hound will still struggle for space with all seven seats in place. A lack of standard-fit rear air-con could make for a hot dog during summer months.

Read our in-depth Volkswagen Multivan review

Our pick: 3.0 D300 Dynamic SE 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 6.1 sec
MPG/range: 38.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 191g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 647 litres
Insurance group: 48E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Offers lots of Range Rover qualities for a lower price
  • Incredible ability off-road
  • Fantastic range on the PHEV model

Weaknesses

  • Cheaper than a Range Rover, but still very expensive
  • Rivals are sharper to drive
  • Land Rover’s reliability record is a concern

Luxury cars and dogs don’t often go together well – muddy paws and pale leather seats are a bad combination. However, Land Rover offers the Range Rover Sport with a variety of accessories to help make looking after both car and dog that little bit easier.

Indeed, our Luxury Car of the Year is available with the same array of useful dog carrying kit as the Land Rover Defender, from dog guards to full boot liners to a portable shower for hosing your pet – and your wellies – down after a particularly muddy hike.

The Defender’s rugged quality might mean its interior fares better over the years, but that car can’t match the Range Rover Sport when it comes to cosseting its human occupants.

Read our in-depth Range Rover Sport review

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